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Employment Law -- Employee

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Laid Off? Things to Take Care of Immediately

Everyone reacts to a job loss in their own individual way. Some people panic and try to find another job immediately. Other people relax and take some time off. No matter how you react, however, it is important to take care of certain things that will prove to be important to your future.

Immediately following your lay off you should make sure to take appropriate actions concerning the following things.

Your Vested Stock Options

If you have vested stock options with your company that you have not yet exercised, then you need to speak to your human resources representative about how many days you have to exercise those options when you are terminated.

While you are not required to exercise the options, you could lose them for good if you do not exercise them within the required time frame.

Your Health Insurance

Federal law allows employees who have been laid off to continue their medical insurance for up to 18 months following their termination. This coverage, known as COBRA, is often very expensive for employees because it requires employees to pay both the share that they were paying prior to their termination and their former employer’s share. You will have 60 days from your last day as an employee to elect COBRA coverage.

Your Other Insurance Benefits

You should also talk to your HR rep about any other types of insurance that you have through your employer, such as:

  • Vision insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Life insurance

Make sure that you know the exact ending date of each type of insurance coverage. Take care of any vision or dental issues prior to the date on which your insurance expires. Also, consider replacing the insurance coverage if you feel that is important for you or your immediate family.

Unemployment Benefits

Most full-time employees who lose their jobs for reasons other than firing with just cause are entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.

Each state has an office that is responsible for the administration of unemployment compensation. It is important that you contact that office and that you understand exactly how to apply for unemployment benefits and the deadline for your application.

Severance Package

Some employers provide their employees with severance packages. It is important that you review the terms of the package before you agree to it. However, it is also important to be aware of any deadlines associated with accepting the package so that you do not inadvertently let the benefits expire.

Remember, many of the things listed above have firm deadlines and there are a lot of details to take care of when you are laid off. If you miss any deadlines, then you risk losing the benefit entirely.

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